A name for herself: Cheyenne Woods earns LPGA card

By Randall MellDecember 7, 2014, 10:53 pm

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – Cheyenne Woods is blessed with a special name that could easily have become a curse when she decided to play golf.

She is, of course, niece to Tiger Woods.

While there’s pride in that, there is, psychologically, a potential prison sentence in it, too.

There are overwhelming expectations that could seem impossible to escape every time she tees it up. There’s also a sense that the name opens doors and clears paths that ought to make the game easier for her.

That’s what makes Cheyenne’s achievement Sunday at LPGA Q-School so meaningful to her. She earned her tour card the hard way.

Photos: Cheyenne Woods through the years

At 24, Woods scraped, scrapped and clawed her way onto the biggest stage in the women’s game. After toiling overseas learning her craft on the Ladies European Tour last year, proving herself there by winning the Australian Ladies Masters early this year, she came back home to grind away on the Symetra Tour, a very unglamorous and stark developmental road to the LPGA ranks.

Ultimately, Woods won her tour card by slugging her way through Q-School this week, making it in her third try after failing in 2012 and ’13. She earned her card on a hard path riddled with all the challenges every young player must face.

“The work I’ve done has paid off,” Woods said afterward. “It wasn’t given to me. Nothing was handed to me. It was me, at home, working every day, all the hours I’ve put in on the golf course. It wasn’t a connection, or somebody I knew getting me in. It was me, playing 90 holes this week and playing well. It felt so good to have earned that, and to become an LPGA member on my own.”

Woods started Sunday tied for 32nd, knowing she needed a good final round to crack the top 20 and claim full LPGA membership. She delivered, posting a 2-under-par 70 to climb into a tie for 11th at day’s end. Her 70 that was better than it looked on paper with LPGA International’s Hills Course playing tough. Only two players posted better scores.

Over at the Hero World Challenge, Cheyenne’s famous uncle knew the hard work his niece invested in Sunday’s achievement.

“It’s pretty exciting,” Tiger said. “She worked her tail off to get there, traveling all over the world, playing where she could. She earned that card.”

Finishing early Sunday, Cheyenne had to sweat out a wait in the clubhouse, refreshing the scoring on her cell phone while the rest of the field finished. She said Tiger called to congratulate her when her tour card was secured.

Ultimately, Cheyenne prevailed in a week that was a microcosm of her entire year, fighting through ups and downs. She opened Q-School brilliantly with a 68, then stumbled to a dumbfounding 79 in the second round, leaving her in a hole. She went from a tie for tie for fifth to a tie for 80th.

“This year has been a roller coaster,” Cheyenne said. “The very first tournament I played, I missed the cut, a European Tour event, and then I won the next one. Between my win and Q-School, I didn’t play well. So, it was tough. But this was my overall goal. This week is what I always had in the back of my mind. It’s what I continued to work for and work towards.

“At the end of the day, I’m extremely happy with 2014. It’s probably one of the best days of my life.”

That 79 in the second round could have derailed a lesser player.

“I think I’m just really proud of my fight and my resilience and my ability not to give up, continuing to believe in myself,” Woods said. “That was the biggest thing, having belief it would happen, and fighting through that rough day and being able to come out tied for 11th.”

If you’ve followed Woods since she turned pro, you’ve seen the humble gratefulness for opportunities she knows her name created. She gets it. She also gets that fellow players will ultimately respect only the name she makes for herself. She earned another big dose of it this week.

@bubbawatson on Instagram

Bubba gets inked by Brooks, meets Tebow

By Grill Room TeamJune 18, 2018, 5:40 pm

Bubba Watson missed the cut at Shinnecock Hills following rounds of 77-74, but that didn't stop him from enjoying his weekend.

Watson played alongside Jason Day and eventual champion Brooks Koepka in Rounds 1 and 2, and somehow this body ink slipped by us on Thursday.

Got autographed by defending @usopengolf Champ @bkoepka!! #NeverShoweringAgain

A post shared by Bubba Watson (@bubbawatson) on

And while we're sure Bubba would have rather been in contention over the weekend, we're also sure that taking your son to meet the second most famous minor-league baseball player who ever lived was a lot more fun than getting your teeth kicked in by Shinnecock Hills over the weekend, as just about everyone not named Brooks Koepka and Tommy Fleetwood did.

Already in Hartford, Watson will be going for his third Travelers Championship trophy this week, following wins in 2010 and 2015.

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Phil rubs fan's Donald Duck hat seven times, signs it

By Nick MentaJune 18, 2018, 3:09 pm

There is a case to be made that what Phil Mickelson did on Saturday made a mockery of a major championship and was worthy of derision.

There is also a case to be made that the USGA's setup of Shinnecock Hills made a mockery of a major championship and was worthy of derision.

Whatever you think about what Mickelson did on Saturday - and how he attempted to justify it after the fact without even a hint of remorse - watch this video.

The next time you hear someone say, "If anybody else had putted a moving ball on purpose and not apologized for it, it would get a different reaction," you can point to this video and say, "Yeah, here's why."

Here's what happened once a still-strident Mickelson was done rubbing Donald Duck hats on Sunday, per Ryan Lavner:

If you’re wondering whether Mickelson would be defiant or contrite on Sunday, we don’t know the answer. He declined to stop and speak with the media, deciding instead to sign autographs for more than a half hour and then offering a few short answers before ducking into player hospitality.

“The real question is, ‘What am I going to do next?’” he said. “I don’t know.”

The 2024 Ryder Cup at Bethpage is going to be a three-ring circus, and Mickelson, a likely choice to captain the U.S. team, will be the ringmaster.

Separately, shoutout to 2017 Latin Am champ Toto Gana, who does a terrific Donald Duck (skip to end).

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Ryder Cup race: Mickelson out, Simpson in

By Will GrayJune 18, 2018, 2:34 pm

There's a new man at the top of the U.S. Ryder Cup race following the U.S. Open, and there's also a familiar name now on the outside looking in.

Brooks Koepka's successful title defense vaulted him to the top of the American points race, up four spots and ensuring he'll be on the team Jim Furyk takes to Paris in September. Dustin Johnson's third-place finish moved him past Patrick Reed at No. 2, while Webb Simpson entered the top eight after a a tie for 10th.

While Bryson DeChambeau remained at No. 9, Phil Mickelson dropped two spots to No. 10. Tony Finau, who finished alone in fifth, went from 16th to 13th, while Tiger Woods fell two spots to No. 37.

Here's a look at the latest U.S. standings, with the top eight after the PGA Championship qualifying automatically:

1. Brooks Koepka

2. Dustin Johnson

3. Patrick Reed

4. Justin Thomas

5. Jordan Spieth

6. Rickie Fowler

7. Bubba Watson

8. Webb Simpson


9. Bryson DeChambeau

10. Phil Mickelson

11. Matt Kuchar

12. Brian Harman

On the European side, England's Tommy Fleetwood took a big stride toward securing his first Ryder Cup appearance with a runner-up finish that included a Sunday 63 while countryman Matthew Fitzpatrick snuck into a qualifying spot after tying for 12th.

Here's a look at the updated Euro standings, with the top four from both points lists joining four picks from captain Thomas Bjorn at Le Golf National:

European Points

1. Tyrrell Hatton

2. Justin Rose

3. Tommy Fleetwood

4. Francesco Molinari


5. Thorbjorn Olesen

6. Ross Fisher

World Points

1. Jon Rahm

2. Rory McIlroy

3. Alex Noren

4. Matthew Fitzpatrick


5. Ian Poulter

6. Rafael Cabrera-Bello

@jenamsims on Instagram

Koepka autographs local kids' 'Go Brooks' sign after win

By Grill Room TeamJune 18, 2018, 2:30 pm

Brooks Koepka is a two-time U.S. Open winner, but that doesn't mean he's now too big to go sign a couple pieces of cardboard in somebody's front yard in the middle of the night.

Koepka's girlfriend, Jena Sims, posted two pictures to her Instagram story on Sunday of "Go Brooks" signs she says were put up by some local kids in the area where Koepka was staying for the week.

The first is dated prior to Koepka's final-round tee time.

The second is from Sunday night.

And here, separately, for no reason in particular (other than the fact that she posted it) is a video of Sims running over a parking cone at last year's U.S. Open at Erin Hills.

Speaking of kids, just feels those two are gonna make it.